Archive by Author

The Guilt (or Innocence?) of Adnan Syed – Serial Podcast

The murder of Hae Min Lee, a popular senior at a Baltimore high-school in 1999, has captured the attention of many Americans. This is due in large part to a well-produced and masterfully presented piece of journalism channeled through the medium of podcasting.  The podcast is called Serial. Over the course of 12 episodes, Sarah Koenig, the host of the show, slowly unpacks the story of Hae Min Lee and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, the man charged and sentenced with her murder.

Millions have already downloaded the podcast, and thousands continue to discuss the details with fevered interest in online forums, asking whether or not Adnan Syed is truly guilty.

After first hearing about the podcast through Hello Internet, another excellent podcast, I quickly downloaded the series. I was instantly hooked. I listened to all 12 episodes over the course of a day and a half, hitting the play button whenever I could.

I don’t want to spoil any of the details for those who might want to dive into the teenage world of Adnan Syed, but I will say that his conviction isn’t straightforward. It’s a mess, a confusing tangle of conflicting stories, questionable evidence (at times), and heartbreak.

That’s partly why the […]

Desiring God

I want to call your attention to one of the most paradigm changing and delightfully powerful books I’ve ever read. It is a work written by John Piper, and it is called Desiring God.

Many of you are no doubt familiar with the book. It is already something of a classic. Nevertheless, there might be a few who have never considered its contents. If you are one such person, I want to strongly encourage you to take the time to read it. As a result of wrestling with the ideas articulated by John Piper, my thinking hasn’t been the same. Glorious truths have sprung to life. I see things differently.

What is the central point of the book? It is, of course, always dangerous to try to reduce a concept down to a catch phrase, but Dr. Piper has successfully summarized it as follows:

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

To state the matter a bit differently, it is overwhelmingly awesome to know that God’s glory and our happiness is not at all at odds. They are essentially one; the magnification of God’s fame results in our increased happiness.

If this strikes you in the least […]

A Trampling Church – A Brief Reflection on Romans 16:20

It’s an easy verse to miss. Tucked away in the final chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans, sandwiched between his personal greetings and doxological conclusion, the following words of promise emerge, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20a). It is an interesting statement, and not a little curious. The allusion is plain enough though. Paul is picking up the language of Genesis 3:15. But instead of referencing Christ, which one would expect, he instead says that Satan is going to be crushed under the feet of the Roman saints. Their heels will suntribo the Serpent, which is to say, trample him or break him into pieces. How can Paul say this? Didn’t Christ crush the head of the Serpent?

Here an awesome truth emerges that sheds light on the mission of the church; a mission that corresponds with God’s strategy of displaying His glory to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms; a mission that includes our stomping on the enemy. In order to get at this, the doctrinal mountain known as union with Christ needs to be ascended. Only there will the vantage point prove lofty enough to provide a proper perspective.

In […]

Crass Plagiarism? The Problem of the Relationship of the OT to Ancient Near Eastern Literature – John Currid

After listening to these three lectures, I felt like a carnivore at a steakhouse. Everything was tasty and meaty.

Ever since the discovery of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian texts, the question of the relationship between these ancient texts and that of the OT has been a matter of considerable dispute. On the one side, there are those who see Moses as little more than a borrower of ideas, a kind of plagiarist who unilaterally adopts the literature of his day. Liberals, of course, tend this direction. One such scholar stated the matter like this,

“We have seen that the biblical chronologies are not grounded on historical memory, but are rather based on a very late theological schema that presupposes a very unhistorical worldview. Those efforts to use the biblical narratives for a reconstruction of the history of the Near East, in a manner comparable to the use of the archives at Mari and similar finds, can justly be dismissed as fundamentalist.”(1)

On the other side reside conservative scholars. While there are a number of different approaches and responses, Dr. Currid argues that Moses did in fact utilize the imagery/language, of say, his Egyptian context, but for polemical purposes. Yes, Moses did […]

A Humble and Triumphant King

“Earthly kings and princes,” writes Edwards, “when they are about to engage in any great and difficult work, will put on their strength, and will appear in all their majesty and power, that they may be successful. But when Christ was about to perform the great work of redeeming a lost world, the wisdom of God took an opposite method, and determined that he should be humbled and abased to a mean state, and appear in low circumstances.”

The Christmas carol composed by Carol Owens underscores this same truth. After asking the question, “How should a king come?” the melodic voices of men and women answer as follows:

“Even a child knows the answer of course, In a coach of gold with a pure white horse. In the beautiful city in the prime of the day, And the trumpets should cry and the crowds make way. And the flags fly high in the morning sun, And the people all cheer for the sovereign one. And everyone knows that’s the way that it’s done. That’s the way that a King should come.”

With repeated emphasis, the earthly pomp of kings is stressed. But near the end of the song, the Gospel emerges. […]

2014: Movies, Books, Games, and Good Listening

As another year nears its end, I thought it would be fun to toss out a few things that have been particularly memorable/enjoyable for me. Here I’m thinking more in terms of books and entertainment.  So without further ado:

Movies

• Edge of Tomorrow (Or, Live. Die. Repeat) was a total surprise hit for me. I hate to admit it, but I do like Tom Cruise as an actor; and in this sci-fi grab-your-popcorn action flick, he delivered an excellent performance. Check it out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

• Interstellar? I’m sorry, but no. I was really looking forward to this movie, but it totally let me down. So if you’re going to insist on watching a show about outer space, go with Gravity. It is far more entertaining.

Books

• Speaking of movies, perhaps you’ve heard about the forthcoming release of Unbroken. I plan on checking it out. But look. If you haven’t read the book Unbroken, I need you to stop right here, open another window in Amazon and order it. Don’t think about it. Just do it. It is easily one of the best books you’ll ever read.

• I’m nearly finished reading […]

A Review of “The Bible Tells Me So” – Noel Weeks

Peter Enns continues to slide further and further.

I do not remember where I heard it, or when I heard it, but I distinctly recall an atheist saying, when asked about the perspective of some liberal theologian, “He’s an atheist. He just doesn’t know it yet.”

It would certainly be wrong to say that Peter Enns is an atheist. He isn’t. He still maintains that Jesus is Lord, at least in some sense. That being said, his understanding of scriptural authority is staunchly liberal- liberal to the point where the very bottom of everything has no foundation. The floor is gone.

If you would like to hear a recent exchange between Peter Enns and David Instone-Brewer (which can be frustrating on several levels), check out the following Unbelievable radio show:

Unbelievable? Has defending scripture made us unable to read it?

Now if you would like to read a good review of Peter Enns’ most recent book, I would encourage you to hop over to Reformation 21. Noel Weeks interacts in a very helpful way, critiquing the work in a level-headed manner.

For a taste, here is a quote:

“Basically, the work presents a fairly common understanding of the authors of the Bible as victims of […]